Community-Based Participatory Research Technical Assistance Grants Now Available – Due Oct. 28th


Communities across the United States are increasingly experiencing the negative impacts of climate change, including property damage, public health impacts, and safety issues related to flooding and extreme heat. Many communities are also facing other water-related issues stemming from inadequate wastewater treatment or from lack of access to safe and affordable drinking water. The community-based organizations that River Network supports are working to address those impacts on residents and advocate for solutions to make their communities safer and more resilient.   

Organizations across our network understand that community engagement is vital in order to understand how these problems directly impact residents. Likewise, they recognize that direct engagement with community members is crucial to formulating more effective and equitable solutions, and to influencing local utilities’ and city officials’ decisions in order to secure more equitable public investments in the future.

In response to requests from members of our network for guidance and examples to help them effectively engage with members of their community to gather data and use it to address local, water-related problems, River Network is undertaking the two initiatives outlined below. With these efforts, we aim to support leaders of community-based organizations, watershed groups, and environmental justice groups who want to initiate a grassroots, ground-up, community-led process to better understand climate- and water-related issues, impacts and threats in their community, and support advocacy efforts to address them.  

  1. Produce a Community-Based Participatory Research Toolkit: We have developed a tool on Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to share best practices for gathering and utilizing community-generated data to effectively solve water-related problems impacting communities. The toolkit will be published later this fall.
  2. Financially Support Local Community-Based Participatory Research Projects: In order to expand the use of CBPR to address issues related to climate threats and water equity, we will select six (6) community organizations that have an interest and the capacity to incorporate CBPR methodologies in their work. We will provide each organization with $6,500 in funding support and with technical assistance to develop and deploy a CBPR project in their community. Areas of technical assistance may include establishing a project team, defining project purpose and scope, project design, project implementation, data analysis, and turning CBPR data into action. 



CBPR Technical Assistance Grant Support – Grant recipients will receive the following support:

  • Financial support of $6,500 to support the development and implementation of a CBPR project. For the purposes of this program, CBPR is defined as “A process through which community members come together to gather and synthesize their collective wisdom and knowledge in order to more fully understand how a problem – or set of problems – impact their community.”
  •  Technical assistance to develop and deploy a CBPR project including:
    • Planning community outreach and engagement activities;
    • Establishing a project team, including identifying and recruiting members and establishing team structure;
    • Defining the CBPR project purpose and scope;
    • Designing the CBPR project;
    • Implementing the project,
    • Analyzing the data; and
    • Turning CBPR data into action 

Program Expectations – Grant recipients are expected to: 

  • Participate in an initial organizational assessment that will guide technical support received. 
  • Attend technical support calls with River Network staff up to two times/month during the months of Dec. 2020 – July 2021.
  • Attend 2-4 virtual learning webinars/grantee learning calls between Nov. 2020 – May 2021. 
  • Carry out a CBPR project as described in the grant application or developed with River Network support, with the goal of gathering community-generated data to better understand local climate- and/or water-related issues, impacts and threats and support advocacy efforts to get them addressed. All CBPR projects must be completed by July 31, 2021.
  • Participate in 1-2 activities to share lessons learned and the results of their work with a national audience (e.g. writing a blog post, presenting at a webinar or national conference, etc.).

 Selection Criteria – Applicants must be a community-based, environmental justice, and/or watershed organization that:  

  • Operates in a community facing climate threats (e.g. flooding, drought, extreme heat and/or storms) that disproportionately impact vulnerable residents (i.e. individuals with a diminished capacity to anticipate, cope with or recover from these threats);  
  • Has relevant experience working with community members on some aspect of climate resilience, urban flooding, drought, or disaster response (e.g. engaging in climate adaptation or watershed planning; documenting impacts or assessing risk of flood/drought; providing education on climate threats, climate resilience or stormwater management; installing projects to enhance climate resilience or mitigation, etc.);  
  • Has built credible partnerships with community members/leaders and/or other community-based organizations (e.g. environmental and social justice organizations/members/leaders, health organizations or organizers, etc.); and 
  • Identifies issues of equity as important to its work and can articulate desired outcomes of its work in terms of improved quality of life, social and environmental benefit. 

Application Process 

  • Organizations should submit a Grant Application no later than Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at 11:59 pm ET.
  • Final decisions will be made by Friday, November 6, 2020. We will award six (6) CBPR Technical Assistance Grants. Organizations will be selected based on their readiness to develop and deploy a CBPR Project and the Selection Criteria outlined above.

Program Team – The Community-Based Participatory Research Technical Assistance Grant Program is a River Network initiative. The Program team has a proven track-record supporting organizations’ efforts to effectively engage with community, to advocate for and develop policies and programs to address water conservation issues, and to integrate an equity framework into environmental initiatives.  

Application Process:  We invite you to use this Word version of the grant application to draft your proposal, before submitting the final version using the form below. Fill out all sections of the online application form adhering to the character limits provided.

Contact Information: For questions related to this grant opportunity, please contact April Ingle, Science and Policy Manager.

Community-Based Participatory Research Technical Assistance Grant Application

The application is now closed.